Chicago’s five major sports teams are combining their considerable reach and resources to try to combat violence in the city through a new grant program.
The Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears, Cubs, and White Sox all issued press releases on Wednesday detailing the new program, which will provide money and exposure to a variety of organizations and governmental bodies in the city throughout the new year.
The five teams will donate $1 million to start the new program, and will provide that money to three organizations to start with. Choose 2 Change, described as a “high intensity mentoring and trauma therapy program proven to reduce violent behavior among youth in the Greater Englewood community,” is one of those organizations.
The five teams will also provide funding for analyst training at the Chicago Police Department’s Strategic Decision Support Centers, which are a collection of locations in the neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence in the city. The centers are dedicated to reducing crime by using data analysis, human intelligence, and technology, according to the press release.
The University of Chicago Crime Lab will also receive funding, with the goal of making sure that the funding for programs is properly targeted and most effectively used.
“Chicago is our home. This is the greatest city in the world,” Bulls and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “While we understand that as sports teams we don’t have all of the answers to solving such complicated issues, we do appreciate the incredible position of leadership that we are fortunate to hold.”
All five of the city’s major sports teams are participating in the project, and will donate money on a yearly basis to charitable programs and entities as the project evolves.